POLITICS

Political Traction: AG's report sparks outrage

05/07/2013 03:56 EDT | Updated 07/07/2013 05:12 EDT
Jaime Watt joins CBC News Networks' Power & Politics host Evan Solomon each week to look at how issues making waves in Ottawa resonate with Canadians.

Monitoring the House of Commons' question period, mainstream media and the conversation on social media, Watt and his team at Navigator Ltd. determine which issues gained the most attention in official Ottawa, and then measure how much traction those issues managed to find with Canadians outside the nation's capital.

This week: Canadians are outraged by the auditor general's report – that found the government can't account for $3.1 billion in anti-terrorism funding, among other things – according to Jaime Watt.

The report also raised concerns about the sustainability of Canada's search and rescue program and clashes between the government and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. But the $3.1 billion in unaccounted-for funds resonated most with Canadians, said Watt.

Watt believes the Opposition didn't focus on the $3.1 billion quickly enough. But this week, the NDP has been leading question period by focusing on the massive spending gap.

Watt advises the Opposition to keep pushing back on the unaccounted-for money.

"If they're [the NDP and Liberals] really smart, they'll bundle this with some other economic issues – 30,000 lost jobs, ongoing procurement challenges...and really start to hammer the government on one of its most important brand attributes – sound economic management."

Canadians on board with temporary foreign worker changes

Canadians quickly lost interest in the government's changes to the temporary foreign worker program, according to Watt.

The government's announcement that companies will find it more difficult and expensive to use foreign workers to fill job vacancies, gained major traction. But the changes fell off the radar after a few days, because most Canadians agreed with the overhaul, Watt said.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair argued the program still sends the message "work for less or you'll be replaced." But Mulcair's message didn't resonate with Canadians or the NDP's base, according to Watt.

The third issue on the Traction Radar is the deadly factory collapse in Bangladesh. Foreign affairs issues usually don't gain huge traction numbers, but Watt said because Joe Fresh manufactured clothing at the factory, the Canadian connection drove traction, and brought attention to the poor working conditions.

Here's a look at the Traction numbers: